Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Bangladesh on September six and seven in a trip that is expected to mark a “new beginning” in bilateral ties as some crucial issues like border demarcation and exchange of enclaves are likely to be resolved.
This will be the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Bangladesh in 12 years, although there have been a number of trips to the neighbouring country for multilateral events.
Announcing the two-day trip, an official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday that Prime Minister Singh will be on an official visit to Bangladesh on September 6 and 7 at the invitation of its Premier Sheikh Hasina.
The official announcement of dates came just four days after Dr. Singh’s comments that 25 percent Bangladeshis were anti-Indian.
During an interaction with a group of Editors last week, Singh had said that with “...Bangladesh, our relations are quite good. But we must reckon that at least 25 percent of the population of Bangladesh swear by the Jamiat-ul—-slami and they are very anti-Indian, and they are in the clutches, many times, of the ISI.”
The remarks were intended to be off the record but figured in the official transcript of the interaction between the Prime Minister and the Editors. The remarks were later deleted from the official transcript.
Sources said efforts are being made to ensure that the visit is a huge success and mark a “new beginning” in the bilateral relations though “challenges and obstacles” remain.
The two sides are working on agreements in a number of critical and sensitive areas which include settlement of the border issue by demarcating it afresh and also Teesta river water sharing, they said.